Ardelia Djati Safira (Safira)
“A versatile leader who empowers people’s growth, leads by examples, and serves communities outside herself.”
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
Fun Fact About Yourself: I really love art and music. Aside from pursuing academic and professional achievements, I try to balance my life with singing, playing the piano, and painting. I love exploring new music to cover, filling my home with all kinds of paintings, and creating customized greeting cards for families and friends.
Undergraduate School and Major:
University of Prasetiya Mulya, Greater Jakarta Area, Indonesia (graduated in August 2014)
Bachelor of Economics, Corporate Finance Major
Most Recent Employer and Job Title:
Employer: PT PPA Kapital, a Jakarta-based private equity firm
Job Title: Manager – Investment Analyst
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA curriculum or activities that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I realized that self-discovery is a keystone of The NUS MBA. For me, an MBA program is a safe time and space to evaluate shortcomings and establish foundational strategies to work on those imperfections. The NUS MBA offers amazing experiential learning modules, which include “Launch Your Transformation”, “MBA Survival Kit”, and “MBA Consulting Project”. These modules will help me discover my true strengths and overcome my weaknesses. I am excited to start my own version of transformation with The NUS MBA.
What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? I see “perseverance” in my MBA classmates. They are highly motivated and energetic. They are coping with assignments, group projects, and student initiatives very well. Not to mention case competitions. Failures on some matters are not the things that will stop them from transforming themselves through the MBA program.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest achievement I have had in my career was when I became the youngest employee to lead an investment project. At that time, I was responsible for leading a team of around 20 people for a US$7 million dollar investment project by creating a joint venture with one of the biggest fertiliser producers in Indonesia. Most of the team members were much older than me, thus I learned to experiment with my interpersonal skills. I needed to motivate my colleagues to structure the whole due diligence process and to negotiate terms smoothly by keeping the harmony in the team. I used a coach-style leadership approach, in which I tried to keep the communication open, provide equal opportunities for all team members to provide their opinions, and sometimes tailor my communication style to different types of characteristics. Eventually, the negotiation and deal with our partner went well. I take pride not because I was the most capable one in the room, but because I believe that I had done my best to add value to my company.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? The most meaningful experience for me as an MBA student so far was when I got elected as the first female president of The NUS MBA Students’ Council. Being a mother and pursuing a full-time MBA made me think that I would not have any spare time to contribute to The NUS MBA community as a student representative. But then I realized that every person has her/ his own adversities or other commitments outside the campus. Those things are not there to stop us from our dreams, but are actually the opportunities to make us grow, break through the walls, and be successful in our own way.
Self-development is one of the things that I hold so close to my heart. I fully believe that through my experience with The NUS MBA Students’ Council, I am starting my own journey to be the better version of myself.
What has been the biggest surprise in your first months of business school? The biggest surprise in my first months would be the “Faceoff” session. It is an open session where students who would like to be the leaders of The NUS MBA Students’ Council have to deliver a 1-minute pitch and answer multiple questions from faculty members, campus officers, and the cohort. It was a very meaningful experience for me because I learned to deliver my plans and craft my answers to some challenging questions in a short period of time. To my own surprise, I ended up delivering my pitch for only around 40 seconds.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I started to feel boxed in during my career because I only had the exposure to one country, which was my home country. I thought it was the time for me to go out of my comfort zone and explore new things in a new place with new people. Meeting with various business owners during my previous work pushed me to continue improving myself and pursue my long-term dream as a leader in a multinational company. However, I still need to sharpen my business intuition, learn deeply about business know-how, practise negotiation skills, and sharpen my decision-making process. The valuable knowledge I will gain from the MBA will allow me to ultimately lead a global-level corporate or even establish my own company.
What other MBA programs did you apply to?
- Singapore Management University (SMU) MBA
- Imperial College London MBA